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A stipend is a form of salary, such as for an internship or apprenticeship. It is often distinct from a wage or a salary because it does not necessarily represent payment for work performed; instead it represents a payment that enables somebody to be exempt partly or wholly from waged or salaried employment in order to undertake a role that is normally unpaid (e.g. a magistrate in England) or voluntary, or which cannot be measured in terms of a task (e.g. members of the clergy).
Stipends are usually lower than what would be expected as a permanent salary for similar work. This is because the stipend is complemented by other benefits such as accreditation, instruction, food, and/or accommodation. Universities usually refer to money paid to graduate students as a stipend, rather than as wages, to reflect complementary benefits.
Stipends may be used by non-profits or organizations working with oppressed, or other less-represented groups of people such as youth. These organizations may stipend youth at a higher rate than local minimum wage rates, or living wage, to empower them to enter the workforce. This type of stipend normally lasts for less than a year.
In some Catholic jurisdictions and parishes, a Mass Stipend is a payment made by members of the church, which is generally nominal, to a priest for saying a Mass, although as it is considered simony to demand payment for a sacrament, stipends are seen as gifts.
Stipend has a specific, different, use in the Church of England, meaning the salary of a stipendiary minister, one who receives payment directly from the diocese (as opposed to other forms of disbursement such as free use of a house in return for clerical duties, known as house-for-duty). A non-stipendiary minister (increasingly being termed a self-supporting minister or an ordained local minister) is therefore one who is licensed to perform clerical duties but without receiving any kind of payment from the diocese — although non-stipendiary ministers often receive reimbursement of expenses incurred in pursuit of their duties, e.g. travel, postage, and telephone costs. Non-stipendiary ministers normally depend on secular employment or pensions for their income and are often unavailable for pastoral duties when they are fulfilling their obligations to their employer. A minister in secular employment, on the other hand, is a minister who exercises a significant ministry in and through their work. This is distinct from chaplaincy.